Sunday, June 03, 2012

Riding the Cloud

Cloud computing seems to be on everybody's lips these days. Of course cloud computing has been around in various forms for years, but with more and more cloud services coming online, the concept and its potential benefits are now rapidly infiltrating the psyche of everyday computer users.

So, that's why I've been thinking a lot lately about "clouding" all of my online activities, so to speak. Or more precisely, using cloud computing to efficiently integrate my online life across all of my applicable devices. In fact, I already use something vaguely akin to cloud based computing, albeit in an unplanned, haphazard and disorganized sort of way. For example, I sometimes find it necessary to quickly update an existing article on the go, via my iPad, or iPhone. Or I might jot notes for a new article on my portable device and transfer to my main computer later for further work. And, of course, I often read and respond to email, social media posts and site comments using my portable devices.

But, thought I, how good would it be if I could seamlessly jump from one device to another and just keep on with what I'm doing? Have all the tools I need on each and every device to do my work, regardless of where I might be?

Some scenarios:


I begin writing an article using Word on the Desktop. I have to drive someone to an appointment, so while I'm waiting, I continue working on the article using Pages on the iPad. Later, I continue writing the article using Word on the XP Laptop in the kitchen while cooking. When I have to pick up family member from work, I edit final draft of article using Pages on the iPhone while waiting for her shift to finish. Later I use EditPad Pro on the PC to create HTML version of article and upload using CORE FTP. Check and respond to social media comments via laptop while watching TV in lounge. Respond to email question via iPhone while waiting to pick up son from Scouts. Use iPad with Textastic to fix minor error in an article and upload correction via iPad while in bed before sleeping.


On family day out, check FB on iPhone and notice many posts about a new version of an old message that I have previously written about. Believe it's worth taking a fifteen minute hiatus to do an update. Switch to iPad, and use Textastic to add new example to article with brief commentary about new version if required. Upload and post to Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Occasionally monitor and respond to initial social media feedback during rest of outing via iPhone.


Feel the need to get out of the "office" (read corner of a bedroom) for a few hours, so head down to local beach. During walk along esplanade, occasionally check and respond to email and social media posts via iPhone. After getting back from walk, set up laptop in park by the sea. Write draft of new article while eating cut lunch in park. When grocery shopping on way home, add quick reminder to cover particular side issue in article. Finish and upload article on PC when I get home.


Take a couple of hours off to go on a photo outing just for fun. Snap a reasonable shot on the SLR. Card shot to laptop. Write short post and upload with picture to WordPress blog. Later use Lightroom to create and upload an enhanced version of original picture on the PC.


Check and respond to social media posts from any location and regardless of which device is being used.


Check and respond to email from any location and regardless of which device is being used. Copies of both sent and received emails are subsequently available on all devices.

So, sounds great! But how best to implement all this? There are quite a few viable approaches to bringing it all together. Along with some potential pitfalls. But, I'll leave my subsequent clouding adventures for later posts.

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